Left Buffalo at 4am Buffalo time (10pm the night before in Hawaii); traveled to Chicago, and then traveled to Los Angeles where I met up with my sister. Together we traveled to Honolulu on the Island of Oahu[i], arriving at 4pm (10pm Buffalo time). We collected the luggage, a car, and several books to help plan our adventures. Then we headed to Wyndam Royal Gardens[ii] and crashed for the evening, finishing 4,692 miles for Sheila and 2,573 miles for Gloria.
The next morning we walked around a bit, had breakfast at Cheeseburgers in Paradise[iii], shopped, and enjoyed Duke’s[iv] on Sunday, finishing off with dinner at the Royal Hawaiian Center[v]. The following day we had lunch with a friend at Jimmy Buffett’s Beachcomber,[vi] shopped for scarves and pearls at Duke’s Marketplace, and enjoyed manicures and pedicures at Kuhio’s Nails and Spa. Tuesday, we met up with Kentucky Cousins, Shannon and Greg, who were in town for the day as part of their 16-day cruise. We caught up with each other, paid our respects at the USS Arizona[vii], and took a city tour including a stop at King Kamehameha’s statue[viii] and the police station, both seen on Hawaii Five-0. Dropping them back off at Aloha Towers[ix], Gloria and I headed for Moose McGillycuddy’s[x] Taco Tuesday.
Wednesday’s breakfast was at Cheeseburgers again (Hula Girl had gone out of business), followed by a drive to the new Disney resort – Aulani, a drive to and through the Punchbowl[xi], and a leisurely drive through Tantalus Avenue[xii] – a rainforest-like environment with lovely tree canopies. Dinner at Jack-in- the-Box completed the day. Thursday all we needed were a chair, an umbrella, a book, a breeze, a beach provided by Fort DeRussy[xiii] and lunch at the Hale Koa military hotel. Friday included a drive to Hunauma Bay[xiv] where we enjoyed watching the fish and the people. We ended with a quick lunch at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers[xv]. A nighttime show and fireworks display provided by Hilton Hawaiian Village[xvi], and a little shopping ended the day. Saturday was a breakfast at Vits (near the Royal Gardens) followed by viewing Iolani’s Palace[xvii] (the only royal residence in the United States), the Byodo-In Temple[xviii] (the temple to honor the first Japanese immigrants to the United States), and Mokoli’i Island[xix] (also known as the Chinaman’s Hat).
Sunday was a day of rest with service at Waikiki Baptist Church complete with communion.[xx] We topped off the afternoon with a great steak, chicken, and shrimp meal. Tomorrow will be our last full day on the island. We are going back to some of our favorites, breakfast at Hale Koa, beach time at Fort DeRussy, afternoon shopping at Duke’s marketplace, and then dinner at Duke’s. Tuesday, we will be back in the air. Sister will arrive home on Tuesday evening, but I’ll arrive home Wednesday morning.
Oahu and its people have been good to us. We’ve relaxed, made some plans, shared some laughs, and reminded ourselves why sisters’ vacations are so much fun. I can’t wait until our next one in Cancun.
Stay tuned for a photo link.
Notes from Oahu Revealed by Andrew Doughty (Wizard Publications, Inc.)
[i] Oahu means the Gathering Place.
[ii] A new, 2-year old facility near the Ala Wai Canal.
[iii] A bamboo-ladened restaurant full of south seas/Caribbean atmosphere.
[iv] Duke’s Canoe Club is a famous place in Waikiki; it is full of koa wood and atmosphere.
[v] Attached to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, a luxury Starwood facility.
[vi] Jimmy Buffett’s Beachcomber Restaurant and Bar where the theme is ocean meets volcano meets tiki.
[vii] USS Arizona site is off Ford Island which is a large island inside Pearl Harbor. It is now known as the WWII Valor of the Pacific National Monument which also includes the USS Missouri (battleship), the USS Bowfin (submarine), and the Pacific Aviation Museum. When Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, 21 vessels were sunk or damaged. Overall, 2,400 people were killed in this attack, with the USS Arizona losing the most (1,177).
[viii] King Kamehameha the Great was the most powerful and influential king in Hawaiian history. He lived during the time of Captain Cook and was born on the Big Island around 1758. Until his rule, the entire Hawaii chain was never ruled by one person. As a young man, King Kamehameha was impressed by Captain Cook. He recognized the world had changed and used the knowledge and technology of westerners to his advantage. He participated in many battles and became the first ruler of all the islands. He governed in peace from 1790s through his death in 1819.
[ix] Aloha Towers is actually a shopping area where the cruise ships arrive. However, you’ll know the clock tower if you watch Hawaii Five-0.
[x] On Lewers Street just mauka (toward the mountains) of Kalakua.
[xi] National Cemetery of the Pacific where in ancient times Hawaiians buried their royalty and also used it as a place of sacrifice. Since 1949, it has been designated as a cemetery for those who served in the military and sacrificed their lives in the Pacific.
[xii] Take a 10-mile drive along Tantalus and Round Top through pretty forest, 1,610 feet above Honolulu. There are several beautiful views (with pullouts) along the way. It is also a great way to see the city lights at night.
[xiii] Fort DeRussy Beach is the widest part of Waikiki Beach.
[xiv] Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a crescent-shaped partially protected from the open ocean with fish so tame that they will come right up to you. Remember, not to go into the water days 9 and 10 after a full moon because of box jelly hazards.
[xv] Teddy’s is a retro burger joint in Kailua.
[xvi] Hilton Hawaiian Village is a staple in Waikiki with 3,396 rooms in 38 stories, 6 pools, 3 spas, and 90 shops spread over 150,000 square acres. 1,700 employees service over 6,000 guests daily.
[xvii] Hawaii had a kingdom until 1893. King David Kalakaua (the party king) had this palace built in 1882 to show that the Hawaiian monarchy was just as grand as any other. It was only used as a royal palace for 11 years.
[xviii] Located in the Valley of Temples, north of Kane’ohe’, the Byodo-In is a replica of a 950-year-old Buddist temple, which is located in Uji, Japan. Built in 1960 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the arrival of Japanese immigrants to America, the serenity of the temple with the backdrop of the mountains, often in clouds is palpable. With the mountain range, the Koi pond, the swans, and the peacocks, it is impossible not to feel peaceful there. The temple has a 7-ton Buddha, and still holds services. In fact, we walked in on a Jazz Peace Concert.
[xix] 614 yards offshore of Kualoa Beach Park (just down the road from the Kualoa Ranch) near Kane’hoe is an island that looks like a hat. You can swim to it and claim it as your own private island ….at least until another swimmer shows up.
[xx] Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper and also known as the Holy Eucharist, was offered today so the message was all about the original Passover and how the celebration of the Passover meal, which was usually held in mid-March to mid-April, aligns with our celebration of Easter; a new year, and new life.